Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
Size: 5.5 x 55 Robusto Gordo
This was a limited release in 2019. I found two reviews. Oh no.
But both liked the cigar. I’m guessing its limited-edition status kept the cigar industry reviewers from dealing with it…I suppose.
Don’t worry. I have cigars marinating ready for review, but I take no shame in reviewing a catalog brand cigar. This is what most people smoke. My sticks have had months of humi time…hoping the cigar sings to me.
I found zero press releases for this cigar. Nada. The Punch website is in flux. I can’t get past the page with the Punch doll on it so that wasn’t much of a help.
I did review the Punch Store Press Habano end of March of this year. I rated it 93.
I am a sucker for Brazilian tobacco. I find it a nice match for my brain’s palate.
The cigars should have been sold out considering how few were made, but they are still available online and in B&M’s…you have to hunt for them, but they are out there. And no discounts on the sites carrying them. Full MSRP.
This is a limited-edition cigar and only 675 boxes were made.
From Halfwheel.com (6-20-2019):
“General Cigar Co.’s latest release will provide many consumers the opportunity to see a cigar press in person for the very first time.
“The company has begun shipping the Punch Store Press Series to select retailers. It’s a collection of three different cigars—each a different blend and size—that are packaged in boxes that are similar to how cigars are box-pressed at a factory. Each retailer that received the cigar also got a replica cigar press.
“The Punch Store Press Broadleaf is a 7 1/2 x 54 double corona that uses a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper and binder over Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers. It is priced at $9.99 per cigar.
“For the Habano, the company uses a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper over a Honduran wrapper and fillers from Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Nicaragua. It’s offered in a 6 1/2 x 54 torpedo, also priced at $9.99.
“The Punch Store Press Mata Fina is a 5 1/2 x 55 robusto gordo that uses a Brazilian mata fina wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan fillers. Pricing for the Mata Fina is $8.99 per cigar.”
The weight feels right. Perfect resistance when I squeeze it. Like I said, I’m a sucker for the Brazilian wrappers…a wonderful mix of hues that included 10-40 black, rust, and burnt umber. It’s not a beautiful cigar but it is expertly constructed. Seams are visible but tight. Hear that Archie Bell and the Drells? Veinage is evenly distributed on the wrapper. A sloppy triple cap. With some lumpy and bumpy attributes. Lastly, a nice bit of toothiness covers the entire cigar.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Lovely aromas of floral notes, dark chocolate, dried fruit that includes raisins and apricot…a pungent black pepper hovers, barnyard, cedar, cinnamon, malt, the good parts of Worcestershire sauce with its notes of molasses, tamarind, and onion, black raspberry jam, and a hint of black licorice.
The cold draw presents flavors of hot cocoa, black pepper, floral, an assortment of nutmeats, black licorice, malt, espresso, cedar, and molasses.
The construction is spot on. As I draw on the cigar, the clearance is how daddy likes it…I put my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool back in its special place in my heart.
Holy Chico and Harpo Marx! The cigar starts with a honk and piano solo. Big, rich, deep flavors of the forest. My throat is coated by a complex list of elements that, in order, are: Decadent chocolate, black pepper, creaminess, black raspberry, malt, espresso, licorice, Worcestershire sauce, and tiny nuances that won’t be discovered in detail until later.
A good omen…I turn the music on and am greeted by Led Zep doing “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.” Man, I’m a dinosaur but those boys have a big part of my soul. I saw the original members in concert several times in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Passing joints down the line of seats…not knowing what the hell we were smoking but trusting that no one would poison us…and we sat there in wonder as we saw the greatest live arena act in the world.
Where was I?
Sweet v. Savory hits its G Spot immediately. A wonderful balance of flavors whose names have been redacted as they remain in hiding for the time being. The depth this early on shocks me. OK. It doesn’t shock me, but it does give me high hopes that it might exceed the 93 I gave the Habano.
The cigar is packed to the gills. Or is that gullet? Or maybe an impacted bowel?
The stick will be a slow roll. This is fine with me.
The richness is dense and puts a big shit eatin’ grin on my puss. Speaking of which, back around 2009-2010, I was the house reviewer for several big online cigar stores. This was before I started my own blog. I won’t name the shop, but I used that exact term, ‘puss’ in a review. The owner of the store was from Cuba and he became angry with me over the term. He didn’t realize it was American slang for your face. He thought I meant pussy. But since I don’t have a pussy of my own to get slapped, it made no sense. We worked it out.
I only found one or two reviews. I am flummoxed. The Habano version was an excellent cigar. And I’m not really much a fan of Punch. I believe the cigar got rated at 90 both times. Don’t know humidor time. But since this was a limited edition, I basically got my fiver with two years of extra aging time on it, while the other reviews happened near its release in 2019. Time and size does matter; no matter what your wife says.
The char line is a good boy and behaving like a champ.
Strength is a solid medium.
The blend is delving hard at becoming an intense experience. There are layers upon layers of flavors. The depth this early on is more than pleasing.
While the guts of the cigar push the Nicaraguan experience, we all are too familiar with, the Mata Fina wrapper adds a lush sweetness and explorative desire to excel.
I’m jacked up on what to expect from the second half.
I did smoke one a week after receipt. As usual, bad move on my part. I sometimes have zero control of my bodily functions.
The packed cigar takes its time. A bonus as this allows the blend to muster all its got for later in the journey.
The black raspberry is highly prevalent. Mixed with the rich chocolate…well, it makes my palate do the Hokey Pokey.
The burn gets wonky. Bummer. A touch up is required.
I tell the cigar, in Spanish, to behave or it can’t have any pudding.
As a kid, I’d hate that skin that home cooked pudding formed on the top. In my old age, I think it’s the best part of the dessert. I’m sure there are varying opinions on this.
We are moving quickly to medium/full. Whining Alert. Whining Alert.
Complexity is working on its momentum. Transitions are acceptable. The finish is the best part leaving smooth notes of aforementioned flavor points.
Didn’t review for a week due to a minor head cold. Apparently, this little virus is sweeping Milwaukee. I hear it from everyone I know. It only lasts a few days, but you do get the full sweep of being miserable. Mine lasted 5 days. And poof. It’s gone.
The blend makes its move just before the start of the second third. Complexity digs its heels in. The depth flashdances on my slowly shrinking brain.
The blend jump starts before the predicted second half. Mikey likes.
Charlotte still has the cold. This woman never gets sick. I find it easy to make hot monkey love to her while she is passed out from Nyquil. And it’s not even my birthday.
I don’t use pills to enhance my schmekel. But I have developed an ingenious hydraulic system that Hannibal Lecter would be proud of.
The Mata Fina jumps the shark and hits a Mark McGwire ball into the parking lot.
The previously described flavors take turns pushing their way to the forefront. But the star of the show is the depth, balance, and complexity. Don’t need a brilliant palate to enjoy this cigar. Good is good. But the cigar is not for sensitive newbies. The strength is inching towards full tilt and I’m not close to the second half. Experienced smokers only need to engage this test of one’s manhood.
A sweet melon element appears for the first time. A combo of cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew. Nice surprise. I’m a patsy for any cigar that can balance sweet and savory.
As a teen, I had heard of using melons for an escape from teen girls that would have nothing to do with me. I tried it once. I don’t advise it. I got scrapes and cuts that had my schlong in a sling for a week. Damn rind.
The path of the blend is on the money. Always improving with each puff. First sip of water and I get a brain aneurysm.
We officially have hit the full tilt strength mark. My head is spinning like a dreidel.
And heeeere’s the halfway point.
I just realize that the spiciness is well contained and doesn’t interfere. Gives the stick a perfect edge that gives the blend a nice kick in the arse.
While this was an extremely limited edition and is still around two years later is always a warning sign the blend ain’t so hot. I’m not sure why the three blends in the Store Press line didn’t go like hotcakes; but all the better for those that might want to try this cigar now.
I’m sure the extra two years of aging sitting on shelves or in boxes probably makes a big difference from those that tried in upon release. Another example of how cigar manufacturers put the onus on you to age their cigars for them.
Now I gotta try the Broadleaf blend. And maybe get more of the Habanos and Mata Finas while they are still available.
The cigar sings to me like a sea of swarming simbas.
Ever have an evil aunt who gets in the swimming pool with you and tries to drown you while no one is looking? Me neither.
I’m enjoying the shit out of the Punch Store Press Mata Fina. I love the smell of a good cigar in the morning. It tastes like…Victory.
I’ve got the windows open, and the gardening crew is mowing the acres of grass outside. My hay fever is in extreme prejudice mode.
I love that the cigar takes its time. Packed like a jelly roll. I can taste everything.
The ancillary points are pumpkin spice, a bit of butterscotch, charred meat, hazelnut, under cooked menudo, and fried afterbirth.
Surprisingly, the nicotine is not as influential as I thought when it kicked in earlier. I still maintain vision in both eyes.
A shift occurs…the blend ventures into the netherworld of mind-blowing intensity. The stick is tearing my world apart. Those boundaries are from the living room to my mini mancave.
Nothing I dislike more than a stick that holds up in stasis…linear to its bones and no acceleration as it moves toward the finish like a lemming on a cliff.
In the last couple of years, Punch Cigars has taken the hint and put out some surprising blends. I know the snobs out there don’t believe it…but I’m giving you katman truth.
SRV. “Hide Away.” I love blues that swing.
I got an offer to play bass in an 8-piece show band. They know 6000 songs and they play everyone of them exactly note for note as the original recording. I declined as I really have never enjoyed being in a jukebox band. Not a moment of improv. Plus, I’m now too old to lug bass gear around. It’s no fun when you lift a giant bass rig and your nuts fly out your ass.
I dig a pony. I loved the Habano version. But I also feel the Mata Fina is on the same page as that blend. Strong, solid cigar blending.
The blend moves into the arena of being incredibly smooth and relaxing. I don’t notice the strength. I’ve been transported to a dimension where dogs fly and I got laid in high school…hand jobs don’t count.
Kick ass blend.
I’m having a better time that the other two reviewers had. Blame Punch, not the reviewer.
Creaminess moves to the top of the food chain. The dark chocolate is hunkering down and is ever present. The fruitiness is maintaining an even keel. Espresso becomes café au lait. There is even a hint of lemon custard covered in cinnamon and nutmeg.
The flavor parameters know no bounds at this point. It is a sophisticated blend. But, as I said earlier, it is a very strong cigar. Not for the faint of wallet.
Sips of water send me to the Brazilian rain forest…while Brazilian natives chase me to take my head and shrink it. On the upside, haircuts would be cheaper.
This last third is money. I’m laughing like a drunken executioner.
Johnny Piette just released the Isabela 2021 Ltd. Edition PepperHead Gordo. It hit his website this morning. I am waiting on some additional info from John and plan on reviewing it tomorrow. I’ve smoked one stick and was impressed in the same manner when I lost so much weight in the last year and could finally look down and see my itty bitty schmekel.
You can get them now. I reviewed the 2019 version in the Corona size and gave it a perfect rating of 100. Stay tuned. And remember, use the promo code of Katman Free Katpack in the comment section.
The Mata Fina is in cruise control. It is screaming laughter. Nothing added and nothing missing. I appreciate the self-control of the spiciness. If the black pepper was bursting at the seams, this review would have taken a different road.
I pierce the cigar with my PerfecDraw so that it becomes a roach clip. I don’t want this to end.
The cigar finds itself just short of a flavor bomb. No longer subtle…rather, flavors are distinct, and the depth finds the missing 20 miners trapped in the hole.
Don’t be a moon calf and ignore this vanishing blend. Pick up a few or a fiver.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS